Crown Imperial March by William Walton is a typical British processional/ceremonial march in the mode of Elgar whose Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4 was performed on the January SASO concert. Walton was one of Britain’s better 20th Century composers and composed Crown Imperial for the coronation of King George VI in May 1937 and was revised in 1953. In addition it was played at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 along with a second Walton Coronation March Orb and Scepter. Again it played a role in British Pomp as the recessional following the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in April 2011. As much of Walton’s music is outgoing and explosive, critics found Crown Imperial underdone, but today it is well received and is a standard work played frequently.
The title of the work comes from the poem “In Honor of the City of London” by William Dunbar 1459-1530. In the middle of the poem written in “Lowland Scots,” which is different from Scottish Gaelic, are the words:
“Empress of townes, exalt in honour; In beawtie (beauty) burying (bearing) the crone (crown) imperiall.”
In following the work’s simple structure, it opens with a spirited syncopated theme A in C major followed by a more restrained hymn like B theme in A flat major. Next is a recapitulation of both themes only the B theme becomes more pompous. Theme C is a combination of A and B followed by a coda with understated final measures, thus having a ABABC structure. Some have referred the work as being Elgarian with the nickname Pomp and Circumstance No. 6. The work is well known to British Americans.
Also on the concert by the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra conducted by Linus Lerner is Russian Alexander Glazunov’s Saxophone Concerto played by Ashu who will also play Two Tangos by Pizzolla. Next will be the winner of the Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition to be announced later. Closing the program will be the French Requiem by Gabriel Faure’ with soloists and chorus. Look for later articles on the other selections in detail.
Concerts will be performed in Green Valley at Valley Presbyterian Church on Friday, March 17, at 7:00 p.m., at SaddleBrooke on Saturday, March 18, at DesertView Performing Arts Auditorium at 7:30 p.m., in Oro Valley at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 19.
Go to www.sasomusic.org for information about tickets, soloists, musicians and membership.